By Jeanette M. Roe, Executive Director
While dealing with the daily operations of the Center and the reality of COVID-19 over the past two months I have learned that no one likes to deal with disruptions to their daily lives especially when it comes to being around their family and friends. The most often asked question I have stressed over is how to begin allowing our Seniors the opportunity to enjoy all the services of the Center again while keeping everyone safe at a social distance.
The part I so enjoy about working with the elderly population is the Key Life Lessons we can all learn from Older People. Older people can be a source of wise words and sage advice on dealing with and enjoying life to its fullest. Here are some of the things we can learn from our elders.
Courage in the Face of Adversity
Life can never be about being happy every day, or else how would we be able to appreciate the good times to the full? The only sure thing in life is that things will get tough. It’s the bitterness that makes life sweeter, and no one has learned this difficult lesson better than our seniors. When we find ourselves in the midst of a trial or struggle, it can be easy to feel as though things will never change. But our elders know that life has a rhythm, and nothing ever stays all-bad or all-good. Older people understand that you have to take the rough with the smooth and hope that it all balances out in the end.
All of us are just small points on our lines of ancestry, and knowing who you are and where you come from can help future generations to understand their relevance. Elderly people in care homes are still part of the family, so take the time to visit them and talk about their lives.
Those That Mind Don’t Matter
We’re all going to face criticism at some point, but we don’t have to let that criticism affect us. We can choose whose advice and opinions we value, as can be seen by visiting any nursing homes the length and breadth of the country. It’s also possible to hold disagreements without bearing grudges or holding onto bitterness.
Love is All You Need
The older generation have been through some harsh times, and they know better than most the healing and redemptive power of love in all its forms. It’s never too late to reach out to loved ones, and regular visits from family and friends, even for those older folk who are mostly dependent on care services, can help to foster strong and loving bonds between the generations.
Laughter Is a Great Medicine
Nobody reaches old age without having gone through a number of trials and tribulations. A long life is never without painful memories, but one of the best ways of coping with bad times is to find the humor in situations. Many older people are renowned for their ability to laugh in the face of adversity, and this is a lesson that we can all learn from. A little humor goes a long way towards making bad times more bearable and good times more memorable.
Make Time for What’s Important
Nobody arrived at their final hours wishing that they’d spent more time at work, but seniors know better than most what’s really important in life. Even older people in care homes with nursing facilities can still find time to socialize and engage in their favorite pastimes, so don’t let the years rush by without allowing yourself plenty of time to stop and smell the flowers along the way.
How Little You Actually Know
It’s not until you find yourself in a conversation with a senior that you realize that you’ve got such a long, long way to go as far as understanding how things work in this life. There’s something humbling about hearing the kind of real wisdom to which there’s no shortcut but a long, rich life of learning and exploring. And it’s not the kind of wise-old-sage wisdom you see in movies, full of archaic metaphors or outdated references — seniors as we know them are vibrant and aware of the world as it is now but can see more clearly because of their wealth of experience.
Let’s protect and keep our Seniors safe until we can be together again. They are truly one of our most valuable treasures!